Dodgers lefty Rich Hill is one of the more unique players we’ll ever see, and it’s his unfathomable transactional path that makes his current performance all the more amazing. SB Nation’s Grant Brisbee pens an interesting piece in honor of a hurler whose success nobody saw coming when he was suiting up for the Long Island Ducks last year. Hill just carved up the Cubs last night in game three of the NLCS, striking out six and allowing two hits and no runs over a half-dozen frames. That outing bolsters an already-intriguing free agent resume for the 36-year-old.
Here’s more from out west:
- The Dodgers represent a unique compilation of talent, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark writes. Los Angeles managed to cover for an unbelievable number of injuries — though, to be fair, at least some were anticipated given the team’s risky investments (Hill included) — and still managed to take the NL West. Despite near-constant change in the major league roster and its in-game deployment, the club has thrived and seemingly hit its stride at the right time.
- Across town, the Angels are holding out at least some hope for infielder Roberto Baldoquin despite two forgettable campaigns, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes. Injuries have kept him off the field and limited his developmental opportunities, though Fletcher notes that conditioning may be partially to blame. Certainly, what the team has seen hasn’t been promising. The 22-year-old, who signed on for an $8MM bonus that nearly doubled with penalties and restricted the organization’s international spending, has stalled out at High-A with a composite .219/.269/.267 batting line over the last two years. But the Halos developmental staff says that Baldoquin works hard, with coaches suggesting that he has at least shown enough in the field to warrant the continued investment of resources into his future.
- While the Rangers and the City of Arlington have maintained that the costs of their new stadium project will be split evenly, WFAA-TV has found several factors which significantly complicate that characterization. Following up on a prior report that suggests tax revenues may be diverted to the team, shifting the burden away from the Rangers and onto the city’s taxpayers, the most recent report outlines other significant ways in which anticipated revenue will flow to the club’s coffers. Stadium naming rights and seat licenses — both highly valuable commodities — would flow to the club despite the fact that the city is set to own the ballpark itself. In the aggregate, the news station assesses the split in real costs at about $1.675 billion for the city (including interest on a bond issue to fund it) versus $500MM for the team. These revelations, which are disputed by Arlington mayor Jeff Williams, come as voting polls show a tight split in opinion on the upcoming referendum. (For opposing viewpoints, see here and here for just a few examples.)
- One major question for the Rockies this winter is how to handle the catching position, as Thomas Harding of MLB.com covers in response to a reader question. Colorado does see improvement in the glovework of Tom Murphy, but at present there’s a gulf between his pitch framing ability and that of incumbent part-timer Tony Wolters. Of course, free agent-to-be Nick Hundley does not excel in that area either, which perhaps suggests the team will be willing to move on from him this winter.
Just have Wolters and Murphy, not that hard, Wolters is a good defensive catcher while Murphy is the starter because of offense, you can even platoon them if you want
Won’t matter, most of the Rocks pitches don’t seem to find the C, how about telling the FO to go get some players, better yet tell the ownership to go get some FO people who can go get some plyrs.
What a hot take! Dude, you belong on a call-in show somewhere!
Unfortunately, you seem to have the wrong team in mind. The Rockies have one of the best collection of young talent in the game.
These Stadium deals make me so sick, so shameful how hard working people are hood winked into thinking they get any benefit from paying for a stadium. Poor people of that area already got screwed over by the Cowboys now the Rangers want to do to them as well? Pathetic.
Arlington is protecting their income from Ranger fans and tourists. They’d rather pay for a new stadium now than see Dallas offer the Rangers a sweet deal when their lease is up.
Never really thought about it. But your right. The people get to pay for the stadiums. Then we get to pay $500 or more to take the family to a game in the park we paid for.
True-dat. Here in L.A. we are building the greatest stadium yet built…and with zero tax payer money! It just cost us 20 years of no pro football here.
Wolters and Murphy would be a good platoon pair. No reason to waste money on Hundley.
This Dodgers team features at least three interesting stories: Hill of course is one. The other still flying under the radar is Andrew Toles, another player who was given up for dead a year ago and is now on a playoff roster and making important contributions. Then of course we have Dave Robert, the rookie manager who navigated through a DL of historic proportions. (BTW, oxymoron alert: nothing can be more than unique.)
Hummm … interesting discussion of the usage point here: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unique
One “H.J. Todd” would have killed off the word in 1818, but future usage expanded its meaning. I hereby disavow the earlier findings of the guy who’s name is startlingly similar to my own.
I smell a conspiracy!
Not to get too pedantic about it, but the first definition is “one of kind,” so my writing (and reading) preference is for the word to be used for that, uh, unique purpose, and to call on more direct adjectives to describe other situations. The language is full of ’em. Anyway, carry on!
Ha. I might otherwise agree with you, but I used it that way so I’m defending my (unintentionally) stated position to the grave!
If this is the worst thing to happen to you today, I want your life.
Get off your knees, they also have 10 or so mistakes since Andrew Doubleday took over, the majority of the roster and all of the prospects were in place
Dunno what that’s supposed to mean exactly. I’ve been as critical of the new FO as anyone and taken lots of heat for it around here but I’m not going to call something a mistake when it isn’t.
Hill three years 40-50 million?
If he continues his postseason heroics I can see the AAV but have to be skeptical about the three years, at least as a guarantee. I suspect he’ll get some solid 2+1 offers if all goes well from here on.
It’ll be interesting to see what Hill gets. I don’t see a team offering him top dollar plus term so it’ll probably come down to if Hill wants quick money (so a 1 or 2 year deal worth upwards of $18 million a year) or some security (maybe a 3 or 4 year deal worth at least $15 million a year.
Post season heroics worked wonders last year for Daniel Murphy. I also think it helped to strengthened his belief in himself as a player.
I don’t know that I’d agree with that first point, if you’re suggesting it had a big impact on his salary. Murphy’s overall second half, including the postseason, certainly helped. But I think the market took a broad view of his value. If you’d have suggested that contract (3/37.5) even before the 2015 season, it wouldn’t have sounded implausible.
In Hill’s case, I think he’s basically doing what he has done since his sudden emergence late in 2015. And he’ll be paid well accordingly, regardless of exactly what he shows in his final X starts in the playoffs. There may be a little more variance in his case, given his oddball track record, but I think it only works on the margins or in somewhat indirect ways (like, say he gains prominence in the eyes of a few big-budget owners, thus enhancing competition even if the baseball ops valuation is the same).
Hill has a lot more to prove at this point than Murphy did at his big free agency moment, so I can see his postseason performance being more meaningful. Hill has roughly a year of starting under his belt and a history of developing the blisters that seem to be a function of his unusual curveball grip and delivery. The Dodgers so far have managed him like he’s made of porcelain. He has to prove he’s more durable than that if he’s expecting anyone to make a long commitment. Every game he pitches will be analyzed, I suspect.
That’s true to an extent, though I don’t think the fact that it’s the postseason really magnifies it. It’s another chance to get a look at him, mostly.
I agree, that was more or less my point. I am a bit surprised to hear all the forecasts of 3-4 year commitments to Hill given his age and history. Every game he pitches supplies a bit more data on him, but at best it still won’t be much for potential employers to go on.
I don’t really see him getting a 4 year deal since that would take him to 40 unless the 4th year was an option year. I think a 2 or 3 year deal is probably more in line with what he’ll get. But players have done less and gotten paid similarily (JA Happ, who has a large sample size but only a short period of success). I think teams will glady offer him 2 years, with the third year (or even a fourth year) being a difference maker in who he signs with.